Warning! That Dog Will Change Your Life

You know all those warnings about the terrible things that might happen when you adopt a pit bull dog? My husband, Thad Stringer, and I felt we weren’t properly “warned” before adopting ours, so he wrote this article to help others.

“Warning! That Dog Will Change Your Life”

By Thaddeus Stringer, October 2011

SargeI grew up with dogs; they were always present, a constant in our home – mostly spaniels. We were those fiscal conservative/social liberals you’ve heard about. We wore boat shoes, knew how to tie bow ties and seemed to be sent home from the hospital with blue blazers. We attended liberal arts colleges, pursued advance degrees, and wore pastels.

But we did not adopt pit bulls.

But after I graduated college and was about to finish law school, that’s exactly what my wife and I did. We adopted a pit bull dog. And we jumped in with both feet. We adopted a one from a cruelty case.

We were told that adopting a pit bull dog would forever change our life:

  • “You have to have thick skin to adopt a pit!”
  • “People will cross the street when they see you coming!”
  • “Your family won’t understand!”
  • “Your life will never be the same!”

Turns out they were right. Adopting a pit bull dog did change our lives. Just not how they told us it would. People did cross the street, but they crossed it to come meet our dog, Sarge. We met our neighbors. We met our neighbors’ family. We met friends. We met people who had dogs, people who wished they had dogs, people who used to have dogs, people who thought they were afraid of dogs until they met ours. We met so many new people, all because of our dog.

And when Sarge became a therapy dog, we became part of our community.

Sarge meets his City Council Reps

Sarge meets his City Council Reps

We were a constant presence in schools across the city doing outreach with people we had no other reason to meet. We interacted with elders tucked away in nooks and crannies of the city that we didn’t know existed. We met amazing young men in a group home for abused teenagers. We even met the Mayor of Philadelphia, who named Sarge as “Humane Educator of the Year” in 2010.

Maybe we should have been warned that adopting this dog would change our life. Because if someone had only warned us of all the good things that would happen to us when we adopted a pit bull dog, we might have adopted one sooner.